Wasaga Beach Redevelopment: The Next Chapter?
Wasaga Beach’s ‘main end’ downtown was for many decades the heart of Wasaga Beach. It was a seasonal downtown and attracted tourists from near and far to its carnival atmosphere. At one point in its history, the main end was strictly a pedestrian mall. As the years went by, the rapid development of the town both with residential and commercial (big box retail, strip mall) growth, the downtown failed to thrive as it once had in its glory days. A fire in 2007 felled many of the main end buildings. Today, Wasaga Beach is looking at redevelopment of the main end, with a view to a healthier, more walkable, mixed-use place, to re-engage the community and to provide economic opportunities.
According to Wasaga Beach’s Downtown Development Master Plan, the redevelopment of the Main end, and downtown area (Main St. and Wasaga Beach areas 1 and 2) is crucial to creating a more vibrant, inclusive community.
To that end, the town of Wasaga Beach is looking at entering into a non-binding letter of intent for the phased redevelopment of town-owned land in the downtown area. FRAM Building Group Ltd., together with Slokker Canada Corporation has been identified as the town of Wasaga Beach’s preferred partner in the development approximately one year ago. The sale of the lands on Main Street and at Beach Areas 1 and 2 are expected to bring gross revenue in the neighbourhood of $27 Million, between the sale of the lands and revenue from development charges and of course, in ongoing realty taxes.
In this press release, Wasaga Beach’s Mayor Brian Smith said, “We now have a letter of intent with a qualified and experienced developer who can make this project happen. The end result will be a high-quality revitalized area of our community; a place where people can live, work, shop and come together to celebrate arts, culture, and entertainment.” Mayor Smith added: “This is another step in many as we work together to make our community complete and give our residents even more reasons to be proud of what we have accomplished.”
UPDATE (March, 2019): In a surprise announcement this week, The Fram Group announced they will not be continuing with the process. The Town and FRAM had signed a letter of intent last summer on development concepts. Since then, the newly elected council opted to let that agreement expire and to go out with a new Request for Proposals (RFP) which came as a disappointing surprise to FRAM. Here’s a link to an article on Simcoe.com